Postcard from Bordeaux, France: Boulevardier-style shopping

Competing with the reflections of the building across the street represents a challenge for the bucktoothed bunny trying to sell guitars. But he obviously caught the attention of the photographer reflected below.

A breeze, a forgotten summer, a smile, all can fit into a storefront window.

Dejan Stojanovic, a Serbian poet and journalist

We found Bordeaux about the most pedestrian-friendly city we have ever wandered around, which meant we had ample time for window-shopping as we ambled about. People who have downsized twice have little interest in acquiring anything beyond calories, so it’s an amusing, inexpensive past-time. Often reflections capture our attention as much as the displays.

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Postcard from Bordeaux, France: A revolutionary evolution of responsible development

With the installation of a new bridge across the Garonne on the horizon, in 2008 the city of Bordeaux purchased a large compound of old military barracks on the right bank of the river with an eye toward tearing them down to stimulate economic development. The timing proved fortuitous for a young man, Philippe Barre, growing restless with his tech business, Inoxia, in a small town in Bordeaux.

Barre presented the concept for a green business center in the barracks to the ambitious mayor of Bordeaux, Alain Juppe, who was jockeying for a shot at the Best European City Award. The proposal appeared to have sparked the interest of one of the judges, so it received a green light.

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Postcard from Bordeaux, France: A pair of bridges spanning the Garonne

Above, Pont de Pierre, built between 1819-1822

Successful warfare requires moving troops quickly, and, in full conquering mode, Napoleon Bonaparte (1769-1821) envisioned a bridge to provide easy access for dispatching soldiers toward Spain. While the design of the Pont de Pierre, or masonry bridge, was completed before his first fall in 1814, the construction was undertaken during the Bourbon Restoration period of the French monarchy.

Swift currents and high tidal swings complicated the building process. The French borrowed a British diving bell to assist with the installation of the massive stone footings in the river bed to support the 17 brick arches. It would be another 140 years before engineers attempted adding a second bridge linking the two banks of the Garonne River in Bordeaux.

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